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  1. 12 points
    The levy debate is very much like Brexit vote in Uk. Be careful what you wish for before voting Yes. What you are really voting for is ApiNZ existence. I don't have a crystal ball to call who will be right or wrong in this debate, but there are some simple facts that can not be denied. Research still appears the only reason people are wanting to back this plan and less than half the money is going in that direction. Knowingly giving a 50% discount is never a good business plan. Research is generational. Every dollar being invested in this proposal if successful will only deliver results to select groups 5,10,15,20 years from now. Passing on something worthwhile to the next generation is a responsibility we all have, but don't vote yes if your only goal is for someone to save your business in next 5 years. Saving your business in next two years might happen from some other event already in play, but not from this ApiNZ levy. The initial research funding for Dr Molan was provided by individual Beekeepers and private funding and took over 10 years before anything concrete came through. Yes the media push from Bill Floyd was funded by NBA marketing levy, but the real Manuka boost in mid 2000 was massive corporate investment and then three poor seasons in a row creating huge supply problems. The harsh reality is any results created from ApiNZ research will only be useful if commercialised by wealthy corporates or coordinated small group of individuals. The rest of the "industry" might benefit as a result from the trickle effect, but ApiNZ will never deliver a golden ticket to every beekeeper individually. Domocracy is a loose concept in business and make no mistake, ApiNZ is a business. The actual influence of the average beekeeper levy payer in how money will be spent will be about the same as the average dairy farmer with Fonterra. Pretty much zilch. Yes we can vote on board members and then ring them every night, but actual control or influence, no. Regardless what happens in this vote, current conditions in our industry will dictate some tough changes over next few years, and in every other industry that has gone boom/bust/boom successfully, the outcome has been a massive consolidation and power shift to larger companies. Putting all your eggs into the ApiNZ basket needs to be done with eyes wide open. I actually think there is room for multiple groups providing beekeeping services on a more personal basis, and an independant research trust set up for a research levy identical to the existing honey industry trust. Voting yes now will prevent Beekeepers taking control of this process. The best thing about living in NZ is we have a democratic system that allows divided debate without being locked up and stoned. Happy honey gathering.
  2. 12 points
    I have seen all this before. The collapse took three years longer than I thought to arrive but it is here . All those jealous of high manuka prices need not worry too much as the crop for a lot of the country is zero so a lot of those guys will be hurting more than clover produces and have way higher costs and commitments. The next thing you will see is everybody trying to sell their honey on the local market. That won't increase honey sales, it will just mean that existing honey packers sell less and supermarkets use the competition to screw everybody down meaning that those packers that are still buying honey will be forced to pay less and buy less. Prices going up and coming down is nothing new and has happened many times. Perhaps the only thing that is new in all this is that the price of honey for the last few years has been way higher than it has ever been. In the past I have seen hives offered for free. I have seen hives left to die. I have seen things come right. What I haven't seen is just the sheer number of hives involved and what appears to be a deliberate attempt by certain parties to collapse the price of honey below the cost of production. The only rational reason I can see for this is to try and remove a large percentage of New Zealand's beekeepers for corporate interests. Panicking and fighting over limited markets is not going to help anybody. There are only so many things you can do at a time like this but one simple thing is to keep some honey back for feeding the hives in the spring and to leave plenty of honey on this autumn rather than feeding sugar. It's going to be a bit of a bumpy ride but I suspect some of the rats will soon start swimming from the sinking ship leaving those of us who can to man the pumps and in the long run the ship will be a lot nicer without their droppings everywhere.
  3. 11 points
    well i haven't said much on here for a while, but love reading whats going on, I'am with jamesec on alot of what he say's and i think the only way for alot of us smaller honey collectors to survive is to sell our own, market, package and to further process our honey. we are are putting up a little honey shack in the back yard and will be selling honey six different sorts, hand creams etc, soaps, honey powder, tablets, Also we currently sell at three different markets as well as online sales and return buyers, i for one know how i will be voting after spending all my spare time and then some on all things bee related, spending endless hours in the stinking hot sun stuck in a bee suit with salty sweet running into my eyes,
  4. 10 points
    It has always been thought that drought type conditions were when tutin levels were high. This year in Hawke's Bay anyway this has not been the case and I have heard of several fairly high test results. This morning I received news that three of my batches had failed. Two were from what I regard as a moderate risk area and the other from a low risk area. A bit of a blow but not something that I will lose sleep over. The testing is there for a reason and it is imperative that Honey is safe. All commercial honey must be tested but all honey is at risk and just because you have an organic top bar hive does not mean that you cannot poison your friends and family. Some areas undoubtedly have no tutu bushes but it can be very hard to tell what was on the other side of the hill.
  5. 10 points
    I object to the basis upon which the levy is being struck, it is ill-thought out and reckless. If multi-floral is $7/kg and the levy $0.10c, and manuka is selling for $20-$180/kg where is the equity and fairness in that to non-manuka producers? It's a tax on those who can least afford it, at a time when returns have plummeted.
  6. 10 points
    Further to what Alistair said, I can at least explain how it works for Analytica tutin reports. We report "may not comply" if we can't be adequately sure your honey has less tutin than the relevant MRL, that is, if your result isn't less than 16% below the relevant MRL. Examples: - If you test a single sample, the relevant MRL is 0.7 mg/kg of tutin. Your sample must have less than 0.59 mg/kg to get a "pass". Between 0.59 - 0.70 mg/kg you will get "may not comply". - If you composite two samples, the MRL is 0.7 mg/kg divided by 2, or 0.35 mg/kg. Your sample must have less than 0.29 mg/kg of tutin to get a "pass", and between 0.29 - 0.35 mg/kg you will get "may not comply". - If you composite 10 samples, the MRL is 0.7 mg/kg divided by 10, or 0.07 mg/kg. Your sample must have less than 0.05 mg/kg to get a "pass", and between 0.05 - 0.07 mg/kg you will get "may not comply". The 16% number comes from the uncertainty of measurement in the tutin test. If we take a single sample of honey and test it multiple times on multiple days, we will get a slightly different result each time. That is just the nature of analytical chemistry. In our case, the uncertainty is such that measured result will be within 16% of the true value in 19 out of 20 occasions.
  7. 10 points
    This levy should only be on manuka honey. They were the major benefactors in the last round so the should pay the good will back and fund research into other honeys. All the money raised should go on market development. We do not need to learn how to produce honey we need to learn how to sell it. .
  8. 9 points
    Now I've seen it. Given the article was based on overstocking and starving bees, you'd assume The 'best practice' being referred to would be lowering hive numbers and getting apiaries back to 3 km apart and beekeepers playing happy families, but because the rest of the article was about growing more manuka and making more manuka honey off waste land, I'm more inclined to believe that part of the levy fund is going to be spent on researching just how much more manuka can be grown to sustain and ever growing number of hives to harvest the manuka honey and how high a stocking rate can they go . And the reason I believe it is the latter is because manuka is where the money is and that's where the research money will be spent. Reading between the lines it has nothing to do with the small business family beekeeper producing low value honey and researching how to keep them in business
  9. 9 points
    What a terrible thing to happen . Sincerest condolences and I hope things go better than you expect ?
  10. 9 points
    Two words that have been human drivers since Adam and Eve. Control and Influence. Control of resources, Control of new entrants, Control of pricing, Influence over industry and larger political decisions. Just look at the Fishing, Dairy, and wine industries if you want to see where honey industry is heading with large company/corporate influence. Ironically, the disruption in honey industry will probably happen regardless of levy vote, but a yes vote will speed up process, as small players provide finance for "industry good" decisions. And if you think your little home based selling enterprise will fly under the radar, just go and talk to some small independant cheese makers and discover the influence Fonterra is having on their survival through MPI regulation. Yes you are right, bees will always need you, me, and hundreds of the fantastic Beekeepers that make up this industry, but it will all be pointless breath if we lose control over the next steps in the chain. While I might sound bitter and paranoid, I am old enough to remember the detrimental control the Honey Marketing Board had on average beekeepers. We now have a perfect world of two respected industry groups providing guidance and the voice of reason over each other and more importantly politicians and MPI. I would wager a carton of your favourite southern brew that keeping two groups healthy and an independant research trust would provide a base I would be proud to hand onto my next generation.
  11. 9 points
    Apinz seems to fully endorse the GIA and does not encourage dissension on this matter. I am absolutely opposed to GIA and regard it as government-sponsored blackmail. We absolutely need to work with the government but we don't need to be blackmailed into doing it. If anybody should pay for bio security incursions it should be those that create the risk not those that suffer from them. If we get a levy I will pay it but if we get GIA I will never pay a cent. Apinz support of GIA is probably the straw that will cause me to vote no. I have discussed my opposition privately with several Apinz board members and we have had good debate but they just don't seem to be willing to allow opposing voices to be voiced in open forum (i.e. at conference).
  12. 9 points
    I think he already answered that in his post. he employs people. he keeps healthy bees, he does his own R&D out of his own pocket, he gives beekeeping advice freely and he’s not chasing Manuka in overstocked areas. Id say he’s done plenty for our industry
  13. 9 points
    I feel like everyone has their hand out and the beekeeper is the one being asked to pay. we are out there day after day doing the hard yards and they truely are hard yards. taking honey off hives that we probably won’t be able to sell. its soul destroying to do the work when you know there’s a good chance of no return. And now Apinz are pushing for more money from us, money that isn’t going to be there this year because it will be sitting in drums in the shed. @JohnFI understand you pushing for a levy because you will benefit from maybe getting funding for some research and that’s fine because that’s the way the world works but imagine for a minute if you were working every day for no wage and then were asked to donate a percentage of that wage ( that you don’t even have) to some entity out there that you dont belong too and for the most part had ideas and policy’s you were opposed too?
  14. 9 points
    Used to be done that way. @John Berry may enjoy this pic.
  15. 8 points
    Something you may not have considered Bushy, This website is very powerful and Im in a position to know just how powerful it is. It is probably more powerful than ApiNZ . If things dont go well and people start getting unjustifiably screwed then I pity the culprits. This site will form part of the balance of power
  16. 8 points
    I agree and I always say to the corporate types that they are better to partner with beekeeping outfits who have the boss as the owner as the beekeeper. This year I have organized with a smaller corporate out fit that was going to expand, 9 smaller beeks to use their hives instead to make the shortfall. The manuka hasn't been too kind but all 9 beeks have had a 100 hives with good quality of high manuka which they didn't have before, the corporate makes money off the growth, the 9 beeks now have some coin from what they harvest and are all very keen to do again and the corporate wants to expand the idea.The corporate doesn't have to worry about beekeeping extra hives. I have always thought that Comvita's mistake was not trying to partner with small outfits at the start of the boom period. There is always another way if we just get around the table and talk. ( make nothing out of the 9 beeks honey except for maybe a bottle of honey whisky) or a coffee.
  17. 7 points
    A prominent Scientist has been engaged to take them through registration
  18. 7 points
    I haven't had complete read of this paper yet but what they suggest (hypothesise) is that DWV is actually a far less virulent virus than some of the other viruses, which are apparently eliminated due to their virulence. Not sure I completely agree with this conclusion... One of the viruses they used to test this was sacbrood virus, which I think still seems to be prevalent at much the same rate as pre-varroa (judging by the odd encounter I have with what looks like sacbrood). I think the more likely scenario is that DWV is very efficiently vectored by varroa while these other viruses are not.
  19. 7 points
    Nu Bee says that honey packers and exporters can't have a say how the levy will be used, what a load of bull, most packers and exporters own beehives as well, so they will pay the levy and have a say on how the levy is used, now ,I believe in the blurb it says that voting on the levy spend will be weighted by the number of hives owned . Guess who is going to hold all the power when it comes to deciding what to spend research money on , it aint going to be the smaller family owned business that's for sure.
  20. 7 points
    I agre @Ali I have no idea how to keep paying for all these changes, levies ,acc, ever increasing wage bill what the dickens is goin on in this industry im 4th genaration representing 4000 hives in my distrect which is potentially 80% of the pollination and im goin to struggle (like many others) i still produce the same honey my great grandad produced and never have i seen a industry representative contact me other than asking for more money which dose not exist and has done nothing for us clover honey is clover honey. I guess i could start chasing manuka in the north add to the overpopulation issues . So i ask agian how is this levy goin to help me ?? I've spent a life time moving with the times to keep my hives healthy i do my own r&d with whatever xtra cash i have. I've never asked for help nor received it, but give advice freely if asked. So now i need to pay for newbies that have overstocked , have no idea how to manage hives . I laugh at job ads looking for experienced beekeeper at least 2years ha no wounder the industry is in the ####.
  21. 7 points
    Well, that was a bit nerve racking. Just been interviewed by television over the too many hives story. There will be lots of umms and arrrs and I have no idea what I said. Hopefully there will be some nice shots of the hive which is a beautiful hive headed by a queen from Frazz which will be one of my main breeders in a couple of weeks. I was looking at a few facts and figures before the interview and I reckon we now have about 30 billion more bees in New Zealand than we did in 2000.
  22. 7 points
    No it isn't the same. And yes I can explain. When you choose to send in a composit sample you are hoping that it tests so far below the threshold that you know that all the batches in that composit must be OK. But if you send in a composit and it is close to the threshold, it means that a particular batch that is part of that composit might be over. You then have to test each batch to find out which one or ones it is. That is par for the course if you choose to mix up composit samples. It means that on this occasion your composit sample has tested close enough that one of the batches in it might be over, and that is the risk you knowingly took when you mixed up the composit. No one can reasonably complain about that, the result is what it is. You now have to test individually to find out which one is over, or, you can blend all your batches so you will have one batch which is under, just. And should have the same result as the composit sample you sent in.
  23. 7 points
    I was reading John B's post's about genetics this evening and it got me thinking. We been taking off honey today today ..... and as you do sweating away in the January sun, lifting boxes, pulling frames looking for sunken brood, varroa mite, chalk brood and mice, one's thoughts run loose .... about the guys that carted their bees several thousand k's for half a kilo, carted them home and lost a third sweated in the truck to a fizzer of a southern flow ..... gets one thinking as you lift the boxes... light one's , heavy ones, dead ones.... We is already planning for next year. How do we do it better ? And then earlier this morning we were putting over nucs ... good ones and plain old ugly ones. Some are gonna make you a dollar, some are gonna be a pain in the butt. And the old adage of 'an average Beeman with good sites' can make it ...... a good Beeman with bad sites will go broke '. We put bees in to a couple of magic M sites this year. Both good sites. The flower yielded for about five days. The strong bees made two boxes. The bees behind the eight ball made a living, they missed the mother load by a week. What brought it home to me today was putting those nucs over. All made up at the same time. Some were bursting at the seams. And some were pretty ho hum. I've always been a bit casual about genetics. At last years calf sales the top calves made a hundred bucks more than ours. When we questioned the auctioneer his response was 'good genetics.' He took me to a bull sale during the winter and we came home quite a lot poorer, but with a hope for the future. Same with the deer. Some do and some don't. So too with the bees. We have a homegrown breeder picked out for next year. She is as quiet as,was an early starter and is loaded with honey.
  24. 7 points
    Some who sold out the corporate's were willing sellers and some were leaned on pretty heavily but the big difference between the corporate's and individuals is corporate's use somebody else's money and we have to use our own. It would be financial suicide for an individual to try and match the kind of money they were throwing round for hives and sites. Some of those hives are now coming back on the market, some of those apiary sites have changed hands two or three times in the last five years. Bankers seem to be totally naive and continue to finance corporate's that are losing millions of dollars every year and at least two of those operations are run by people that have been bankrupt before. Family businesses make far more profit per hive and pay far more taxes to keep the country running. Some of those corporate's also have a special relationship with the MPI which I also find deeply concerning.
  25. 6 points
    When the day of reackoning comes and you have something the big guys want, then yes you will do all right, otherwise they will let you fall over and pick up cheap assets after the event. Now that's normal business reality with or without corporate involvement. The major wine companies up until 10 years ago got most of the grapes from private small growers. They then got sick of paying market rates for grapes so started buying little guys out, not at top dollar, but during the 2008-2010 wine glut (which was of their own making) when financial stress forced sales. Almost all Marlborough grapes are now foreign owned, through large multinational corporates, and we import foreign labour to do the work because wages and conditions too rubbish for kiwis. I don't know if this will happen in NZ beekeeping or not, but I do know there is a much greater chance of it happening under a ApiNZ controlling position.
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